The other day I asked on Diabetic South Africans if anyone had any diabetes questions for us to ask our experts – and the questions came flooding in! But one of the most repeated ones was about metformin and diarrhoea… It seems that so many people struggle with it, and it’s making their lives miserable. Some people even said they didn’t want to take their metformin because of the diarrhoea! But metformin is an essential medication for many Type 2 diabetics.
Metformin and diarrhoea: what to do
So I asked Prof Joel Dave, the endocrinologist (diabetes specialist) on our Panel of Experts, for some advice. He agreed that diarrhoea or stomach upsets are a common side-effect of metformin, and had a few suggestions to offer. He said:
Gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhoea or upset tummy) are well recognised side-effects of metformin. Some people are completely intolerant and have to stop the drug.
Taking metformin with meals or immediately after
Taking a lower dose
Taking the long-acting form of metformin (not available in the state sector)Prof. Joel Dave, endocrinologist
So essentially, the advice is to first try taking it with meals. If that doesn’t help, speak to your doctor about a lower dose. And if that doesn’t work, try switching to a different form of metformin.
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